I live in Hasanpura-C. It is supposed to be a semi-developed side, compared to Hasanpura-A, situated about a 10-minute walk on the other side of the road. Every time I book a cab, the driver asks me if the way to my house is big enough for a car. In my mind, I say, “Yes, as big as the divide that the English left behind and we have come to adopt.”
“Just enter the first lane on the right, in front of the mandir leading to the masjid inside…”
We cross Lallu Meat Shop, a name that
makes me chuckle every time I say it aloud.
I remember a time when my politically-woke
friend decided that a Musalman chooses to
be ghettoised – it was a WhatsApp group where my identity was dissected with a plethora of tools.
Some Musalman friends are a guinea pig for
their social experiment. Let’s see what hurts them most, let’s push them till the very end until they explode. Touché, they are such apt metaphors for terrorists indeed.
Ghettoised in our language means being refused a house on rent because we are Musalman,
it means being asked what ‘kind’ of Mohammaden we are –
the clean ones or the unclean ones.
“You know, not all Musalman cook on the streets and block the roads when there’s a wedding. not all of them are loud, uneducated and clad in a burqa and a niqab. Some of them wear jeans and write poetry, some are even tolerant and have a calm temper, you see…”
When my friends speak for me, I want to tell them to not lend their voice to my truth. It feels like unwanted sympathy, advocacy for a victim.
I’m proud that I live in Hasanpura-C,
On a side that is half developed, but often erupts into random fights. A side where the police sits on every nook and corner, a side where the children abuse on the roads during shakraat; a side that wakes up to the azaan and the bells of a mandir, where Diwali fireworks are the first to go off in the city. A side that celebrates a ghettoised perception – it is your mind that refuses to grow out of it.
You have created places like Hasanpura-C and Hasanpura-A, yet here you are complaining about the very thing you have aspired for: the divide.
It is in the Economics and the Politics of my existence – this blood of a Musalman knows where it has to belong. Otherwise, you would kill us for merely breathing the same air as you. You would divide the oxygen between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’; because what lies beyond this divide is only death.